This Unit explores the erosion of the doctrine of absolute state immunity in a foreign office context: allowing adjudication against foreign states in state courts. The first part of the unit focuses on American jurisprudence which exemplifies both a rather elaborated and an innovative approach in the context of immunity of states. The unit explores critically the exceptions to immunity of states – most prominently to allow commercial transactions and to fight terrorism – and the challenges these exceptions face in the context of conferring jurisdiction and enforcement. The discussion of the erosion of the foreign office model of states’ immunity is then critically analyzed in the world of global governance: the eroding immunity of international organizations.
I. Overview and Introduction
A. Overview and Background: Hazel Fox, Chapter 12 (in Evans, ed.)
B. The Development of Sovereign Immunity Law in the United States
1. A Historical Introduction
a. The Classical View
b. The Tate Letter
c. The Tate Letter in Practice
II. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976
A. See FSIA [important to read*]
1. An Overview of the Act
a. Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts
b. Immunity and Exclusion from Jurisdiction
c. Commencement of Action
d. Enforcement of Judgments
e. Actions in State Courts
III. Suing Current or Former Foreign State Officials in US Courts
IV. Enforcement Problems in Suing Foreign Governments and Instrumentalities
V. The Act of State Doctrine
VI. Immunity of International Organizations
A. Chanaka Wickremasinghe, On Immunities of Diplomats, Government Officials, and Official of International Organizations (Ch. 13, in Evans, ed.).
B. Waite and Kennedy v. Germany, European Court of Human Rights, 26083/94.
C. Brzak v. United Nations, Judgment of US District Court, April 29, 2008 (an appeal has been filed);
Brzak Brzak v. United Nations, Memorandum of Law of the United Nations, October 2, 2007
D. Letter from the United States District Attorney to the Court, October 2, 2007.